Favorite Albums

Led Zeppelin may have come first, striking twice in 1969 with Zeppelin I and II, but Sabbath came pretty shortly after on the Hammer of the Gods’ day of rest. By the time Black Sabbath was released in early 1970, Zeppelin was firmly in the camp of hard rock — Led Zeppelin II is pretty much the prototypical “classic rock” (I hate that term more and more these days) album ...

When I was counting down my list of favorite albums in late 2011 and early 2012, I still hadn’t really heard much electronic music, and the only trip-hop I was familiar with was the Sneaker Pimps’ song “6 Underground” and DJ Shadow’s amazing album Endtroducing…, which I have since profiled in an In Rotation entry. I was also familiar with Massive Attack’s ...

During the grunge explosion of the early ’90s, Alice in Chains never quite became the “it” band the way their Seattle peers Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden (in that order) ultimately managed. While Nirvana caught the brunt of the initial fireball, the band’s popularity was soon exceeded by Pearl Jam’s, whose appeal was simply wider, even if it ultimately wasn̵...

Every once in a while, I’ll come across an album whose first track is so good it takes me days, months, or even years to get past it. My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless and its opening track “Only Shallow” is certainly one that falls into the “days” category for me. I wasn’t really keeping track at the time, but I suspect Radiohead’s Kid A can be put in ...

This may be a little hard to believe, but Pearl Jam — the most popular rock band of the ’90s — actually had a very impressive second decade, turning in four quality albums in the new century’s first ten years of existence, despite the fact that they had whittled their fan base down to just the hardcore by the end of the ’90s. But let me back up and give you the proper...

Two years ago, when I finalized my 100 favorite albums list, Nirvana’s Nevermind weighed in at #95, which is pretty low for a Millennial who has continuously devoured all things alternative rock since the age of eleven. But by the time I bought Nevermind in high school, I already was familiar with more than half of the album’s tracks, since they appeared (with varying degrees of freque...

I can still remember the first time I heard Depeche Mode. Shortly after the ’90s wrapped up in, say, the fall of 2002, the now-defunct radio station 99.1 WHFS in the Annapolis/Washington/Baltimore area debuted a “Nineties at Noon” feature, where they played nothing but ’90s rock songs from 12-1 PM. Since I had school, I almost never got to listen to it, which is too bad, si...

In retrospect — a word I use loosely here, since 21 was released less than two and a half years ago — 21‘s astonishing success in a supposedly post-music-buying era makes a lot of sense, for I can think of three blockbuster albums in particular that struck three different chords in three separate eras that share a hell of a lot in common with Adele’s Grammy-sweeper. The fir...

Artistically and commercially, R.E.M.’s first nine albums can be pretty cleanly divided into three groups. Murmur (1983), Reckoning (1984) and Fables of the Reconstruction (1985) share a murky, mysterious quality and are firmly rooted in the alternative underground. Lifes Rich Pageant (1986), Document (1987) and Green (1988) showcase a more immediate sound, and perhaps unsurprisingly, these ...

Green River came so close to making my 100 favorite albums list. I know I have said that about several albums I have profiled so far for my In Rotation column, but Green River was easily one of the last five — or even two or three — albums I had to leave off the list. In fact, when I initially conceived this column upon the list’s completion, I thought Green River would be a pret...

DJ Shadow’s groundbreaking album Endtroducing… has, so far at least, remained beyond the reach of the masses, which is too bad. Within the music community, Endtroducing… is a treasured and hugely influential work, but as far as music consumers are concerned, they are more familiar with the effect than the cause, unfortunately. Sampling, which had driven the sound of hip-hop since...

When I was making my 100 favorite albums list, I really thought (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? was going to make the cut. But alas, I ran out of room for it. To be honest, I hadn’t been a real Oasis fan all that long when I made the list, and their debut Definitely Maybe appealed to me a lot more at the time, so I chose that album for the list instead. I still stand by that decision...

For some reason, these In Rotation entries have all focused on albums made in the past 15-20 years so far. I think after finishing my albums list, I wanted to pay more attention to the modern; it’s just where my head’s at right now. I really thought I would have profiled Led Zeppelin II or Green River by now, but I just keep putting it off. For some reason, those records just don’...

Favorite Album | Honorable Mention: Incubus – Morning View (2001)

When I finally finished counting down my 100 favorite albums six months ago, I felt terrible. I mean, I loved doing the list, but I was pissed when I finally got to my #1 pick — Make Yourself by Incubus — because I realized that to put that album number one and leave its follow-up Morning View completely off the list didn’t make a whole lot of sense. When I created the list itsel...

At least four albums on my favorite albums list would rank higher if I had to do the list again now. One of them is Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, which revolutionized hip-hop upon its release at the end of 1992. A court case in 1991 effectively ended the sample-heavy productions of those of the Bomb Squad, the Dust Brothers and their ilk; samples now had to be cleared and suddenly cost a helluva lo...

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